logo



New state monitor to assess Ballad's merger compliance

Zach Vance • Updated May 17, 2018 at 2:37 PM

Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner has given a former University of Virginia Health System executive the task of monitoring the Ballad Health merger to ensure its benefits outweigh the disadvantages resulting from a monopolistic lack of competition.

Beginning June 1, Larry Fitzgerald will assume the sweeping duties of Certificate of Public Advantage monitor for the Ballad Health merger, according to a Wednesday press release from the Tennessee Department of Health.

“The monitor will play a significant role in the COPA process, and Larry Fitzgerald brings years of expertise and experience to the post,” Dreyzehner said in a news release. “As Ballad charts a new course for health care in the region, meeting key measurements is crucial to the fundamental goal of providing a public advantage to the residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.”

Among other duties, Fitzgerald’s principal responsibility will be monitoring and evaluating the various benefits and disadvantages resulting from the hospital merger, as defined by state law.

That includes: scoring the quality of care provided by Ballad Health’s 21 hospitals; determining the preservation of hospital facilities in geographical proximity to the communities traditionally served by those facilities; the gains in cost containment and cost-efficiency for services provided; the avoidance of duplication of hospital resources; and the demonstration of population health improvements.

The disadvantages he will be looking for include: the extent of adverse impact on the ability of healthcare payers to negotiate appropriate payment and service arrangements with Ballad Health; reduction in competition among physicians, allied health professionals or other healthcare providers as a direct result from the merger; and adverse impacts on healthcare quality.

He will regularly report any findings of noncompliance to the state, as well as compile an annual report covering all aspects of monitoring the hospital merger.

Fitzgerald will also review COPA complaints, conduct audits to verify information provided by Ballad officials during their reports and make recommendations to Dreyzehner concerning any requests for modifications to the COPA’s terms.

Under state law, Ballad Health is obligated to pay Fitzgerald’s salary “at an amount commensurate with usual compensation for like services.”

The Department of Health did not reveal how much Fitzgerald will be paid in its new release. According to a 2013 Richmond Times-Dispatch story, Fitzgerald was listed as the state of Virginia’s 18th top earner, making $463,755 annually.

In February, Ballad announced Gary Miller will serve as its COPA compliance officer, who will be responsible for ensuring the hospital system upholds all of its agreed-upon terms.

“Ballad Health appreciates the selection of Larry Fitzgerald for the important role of COPA Monitor,” a Ballad Health spokeswoman said in a statement. “Mr. Fitzgerald's experience in hospital finance, operations and academic medicine makes him uniquely qualified. We applaud the Attorney General's office and the Department of Health for this selection, and we look forward to continuing to work with our state partners as we move forward.”

Before accepting the COPA monitor position, Fitzgerald served for 19 years as the University of Virginia Health System’s chief financial and business development officer. He’s also worked for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Greenville, S.C., Hospital System, the Western Pennsylvania Health Care System and American Medical International Inc.

“Larry Fitzgerald is more than qualified to take on the role of the COPA monitor. He has significant executive experience with five health care systems over 35 plus years ... His connections to Virginia and Tennessee are deep, having grown up in Tennessee, graduated from a Tennessee university and spent the last 18 years in Virginia,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a news release.

“The COPA involves two states, two regulatory structures, urban and rural facilities and multiple markets over a 21-county area. It’s a big job and we needed someone of Larry’s knowledge, reputation and experience to facilitate this critical piece of the venture. We are grateful he has agreed to serve and look forward to working with him.”

Fitzgerald received his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Middle Tennessee State University.

 

 

Reported Earlier:

NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s health commissioner has appointed a former University of Virginia health system official to evaluate Ballad Health’s compliance toward stipulations outlined when the state approved the merger of the region’s two hospital systems.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner announced Wednesday that Larry Fitzgerald will serve as the Certificate of Public Advantage monitor.

Beginning June 1, Fitzgerald will be responsible for evaluating the continued public advantage by monitoring Ballad Health’s compliance with the COPA and the terms of certification and working with the state health department to assess Ballad’s performance against established index measures.

Fitzgerald comes to this position after serving as chief financial and business development officer for the University of Virginia’s Health System for the past 19 years.

“The monitor will play a significant role in the COPA process, and Larry Fitzgerald brings years of expertise and experience to the post,” Dreyzehner said in a news release. “As Ballad charts a new course for health care in the region, meeting key measurements is crucial to the fundamental goal of providing a public advantage to the residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.”

As outlined in Tennessee statute, the duties of the monitor include:

• Reviewing reports from Ballad for completeness and compliance with the COPA and the terms of certification;

• Reviewing semi-annual reports of the COPA compliance officer concerning complaints related to the COPA or the terms of certification;

• Conducting audits to verify information provided in required reports and/or to determine compliance with the COPA and terms of certification;

• Reviewing and making recommendations to the commissioner concerning any requests for modification of any provision of the COPA and the terms of certification submitted by Ballad;

• Reporting on a regular basis to the department any findings of noncompliance or any areas where Ballad is not achieving target outcomes and/or is failing to meet the index scores needed to demonstrate continued public advantage, along with any recommendations of enforcement mechanisms; and

• Providing an annual report to the department within 30 days of the local advisory council report that should include index scores, updates on compliance with the COPA and the terms of certification, the status of existing corrective actions, any recommended enforcement mechanisms, any additional findings of the COPA monitor and any other information requested by the department.

Dreyzehner made the appointment in consultation with Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.

“Larry Fitzgerald is more than qualified to take on the role of the COPA monitor. He has significant executive experience with five health care systems over 35 plus years, including the University of Pittsburgh and most recently the well-respected University of Virginia Health System where he was its chief financial and business development officer. His connections to Virginia and Tennessee are deep, having grown up in Tennessee, graduated from a Tennessee university and spent the last 18 years in Virginia,” Slatery said in the news release.

“The COPA involves two states, two regulatory structures, urban and rural facilities and multiple markets over a 21-county area,” Slatery said. “It’s a big job and we needed someone of Larry’s knowledge, reputation and experience to facilitate this critical piece of the venture. We are grateful he has agreed to serve and look forward to working with him.”

Fitzgerald’s career includes posts at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as vice president and chief financial officer with University of Pittsburgh Physicians and acting vice president of patient business services. He served as vice president and chief financial officer of the Greenville, S.C. Hospital System and senior vice president and chief financial officer of the Western Pennsylvania Health Care System in Pittsburgh. From 1982 to 1990, he served in a variety of positions at American Medical International, Inc. in Houston ranging from manager of budget and finance in the Gulf States region to chief financial officer and vice president of the organization. He also worked for the INA Corporation in Dallas and began his career at Ernst and Whinney in Nashville.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos